Notes from RPTS Squat Seminar



Warm ups:  These are a combination of active and direct warm ups.  Active can be cardio, rolling etc.  Direct warm ups are done with the actual lift itself.  Never tire yourself out during warm ups and always use this as assessment time to see how you are feeling.  If things feel heavy maybe go lighter.  Seems like common sense but too many times people are married to the idea of the set numbers.  Flexibility in programming is a precursor to long term success and longevity.
Set up: Bar placement, bracing and the walkout are all part of the set up not excluding feet spacing as well.  Bar placement is the foundation to you success in the squat.  So long as the bar is stable and works with your mechanics that is what matters whether low, middle or high bar placement.  Keep the humerus pulled in tight to keep the upper back engaged along with the rear delts.  This will keep you from rounding as much when in trouble.  Bracing is just learning to take in air in the stomach and lungs and holding to support the spine to a higher degree than the belt alone.  The idea is to push into your belt while sort of crunching down.  Brace when lifting the bar off the rack and before you start your squat.  Walkouts need no explanation beyond what we discussed but please practice them.
Environment: Be aware of your surroundings particularly in a mainstream facility.  Never be afraid to approach people to give you space.  Safety is paramount.
Foot placement:  This is partly comfort based but also based on the bar placement and the shoes you wear.  Be aware how these variables impact you as a lifter.  A close stance in heels with a high bar is prone to balance issues for example.
Bar placement: Already mentioned but learn and understand why you use the bar the way you do.  Understand which placement is best for your mechanics.  This is always going to be something that is individual.  Be willing to experiment.
Depth: If not competing find a comfortable range of motion period.  If competing learn to lift every time like on the platform which includes depth on every rep.  Know what is good by feel not others telling you.  The ping effect of the lifter hearing creates tentativeness and is very robotic.  The first sign of an unprepared lifter is bombing out of a meet for depth.
Mobility: Your feet, bar ride and depth are all factors of mobility.  Heels can come up because of high bar position pitching the lifter forward as can tight achilles and hips.  When squatting your descent is based on bending at the hips first.  Lifters than bend at the waist often get stuck being pitched forward and can even “lean into parallel” which is a crap shoot for white lights.
Bar Path: Sitting back is incorrect.  Drop.  Drop it like its hot.  Whatever helps you to understand.  Raw lifters drop but we do stick our butts out.  The bar should really travel in a straight line up and down.  Try some of the apps around to see the difference of a box squat and a regular squat.  Perfect practice makes perfect so consider box squats as a secondary or assistance exercise at best.
Assistance Lifts:
Getting out of the hole: Squat, pause squats, low box squats, high bar close stance, front squats, safety bar squats
Transition out of the hole: parallel box squats, GM squats, suspended GM, safety bar squats, bottom up squats
Lockout: High pin squats, adding chains or bands, reverse band squats
If you are struggling with exercise creativity here are a few to add to your training programming.
Supplemental lifts for the squat:  Pause squat, Pin squat, Front Box Squat, Slow Squat, Front Squat, Wide Front Squat, Anderson Front Squat, Safety Bar Squats, Manta/High Bar Squats
Developmental lifts for the squat: Wall Squats, Zercher Lunge, Front Lunge, Hack Lunge, Duck Foot Squat, Negative Squat, Belt Squat, Lockouts, Squat with Chains, Leg Press, Leg Extension, Ham Curls, Squat Jumps, Depth Jumps, Box Jumps, Calf Raises, Hyperextensions/Weighted in various ways, Seated GM, Reverse Hypers, ABS ABS ABS.

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Prilepin Chart and How To Design Your Own Powerlifting Program

For anyone who doesn’t know of A.S. Prilepin, I will save you the trouble and tell you that he watched the most successful lifters in the most successful country (Russia) and made a few determinations about their training. His observations, while simple are how PL programming is created even today. His observations are in the chart below–assuming posting this doesn’t monkey it up beyond repair.




What is it?
It is a chart that determines the number of sets and reps that are to be used in training high level athletes. There is a reason that it is still used all of these many years later. It is the foundation for most successful training systems in use today–including westside. It includes a training zone and it’s corresponding rep ranges and what is considered optimal.
Who will benefit from this information?
I hesitate to say everyone. I know that everyone doesn’t want to know what goes into their training–and they for damn sure don’t want to do it themselves. That used to be me–“put it on the bar coach, you’re the thinker, I’m the lifter.” I eventually took control of my own program design–but my coach still bitches anyway. But, intermediate to advanced lifters will benefit from knowing how to use this table seamlessly. But because I am a pompous ass, I am including novice lifters anyway.
How is it used?
For example, If I am working at 90%, I consult the chart and it will tell me that I need a reps per set of 1-2 and that I should optimally perform 7 meaningful reps. However, there is a range of 4-10, which is to accommodate for your training max (if you feel like shit and cant keep going) and your 1RM (if you feel like a freight train). It is pretty simple.
General Users:
This is the simplest method of using the table. You will have a day where you operate in a single intensity zone and you will not vary from it in such a way that would alter your set or rep range. You will make up for not having multiple intensity zones by lifting over more days–i.e. You will squat 2-3 days per week.
Example Plan:
Monday 90-100+% 1RM
Reps per set: 1-2
Optimal reps: 7
Rep range: 4-10
Execution: Don’t be a dumbass and not warm up. But don’t warm up in such a way to compromise your attempts on your 1RM. Higher rep warm-ups should be at low percentages, and higher percentage warm-ups should be made as singles–if possible. Be reasonable, and know when you are ready to go.
Thursday 55-70% 1RM
Reps per set: 3-6
Optimal reps: 24
Rep range: 18-30
Execution: Warm-up and follow the plan.
Intermediate Lifters: The Prilepin Number of Lifts Score
Now for the math squeamish, this may seem horrifying. But little know fact: Most PLers are mathematicians—just ****ing with you…most people hate math. But for the purposes of planning a training cycle, it is important–hear me out.
PNLS = Number Of Performed Lifts in Zone/Upper Total Limit
So if I did 10 lifts in the 90% range, I would have a PNLS score of 10 (number of lifts I did) /10(number from the chart) =1. Now keep in mind that this score is representative of that one lift and it does NOT encompass your accessory work. So you can see that an optimal PNLS score would be .7 or so.
Problem: Nobody works in a single intensity zone, you know-nothing bastar….ok ok.
Solution: Basic phone calculator with the same formula should square you away.
Example: If you did 10 reps at 55-70%, 5 reps at 70-79%, and 3 reps at 90+% you will have 10 (what you did)/30 (max reps from chart), 5/24, 3/10. Restating–10/30 (.3) +5/24 (.21) +3/10 (.3) = .3+.21+.3= .81 PNLS or a pretty good day–and a really damn good example seeing as how I guessed at it.
Problem: I can get the same PNLS by doing the different percentages with the same reps as long as I am in the same intensity zone.
Solution: Stop being a loop-hole seeking dickhead. Don’t you want to be better? Jk….I mean you are a dick, but the loop-hole is about to close: A slight modification to the formula that rewards precision. The Intensity and Number of Lifts (INOL) formula. It is defined like this: Number of Lifts(NOL) at a given intensity/100 – intensity.
Restated: INOL = Number of lifts at your chosen percentage / 100 – (your intensity).
Example: Bench 2×6 @ 60% and 3×5 @ 75% = 2×6/(100-60) + 3×5/(100-75)= .3 + .6= .9
Problem: 2×6 @60% is the same thing as 6×2@60%. Well, the more fragmented your INOL is, less fatigue was incurred per each set. So have a defined purpose when you design the program. Did you want the sets to be low rep and light for a DE day? If so, one way is more optimal than the other.
Guidelines for Using INOL
Weekly INOL Guidelines:
<2 easy
2-3 tough
3-4 Unsustainable
>4 Overtraining
Single Workout INOL of a single exercise:
<0.4 Do you even lift???
0.4-1 Good
1-2 Difficult
>2 Assault and battery on yourself.
The mathematical scores for the Prilepin tables are the ideas of a guy named Hristov. Smart guy that was looking for a definitive method to utilize the table. These are his ideas and not Prilepin’s. It is also of note that Hristov didn’t come out with his ideas until the last decade, so clearly you can use the table without the formulas.
I don’t want to do any of the stupid mathematics, I just want to lift….so what?
No problem, but keep in mind that thousands of people either developed the table with their success (that is why they were selected and studied by Prilepin) or have been successful because of that table. The table should be regarded highly. The numbers you can take or leave. I just have always thought they were neat.
Did I use them? Yes. At one time my programming was solely based on the Prilepin table and Hristov’s data interpretation. Now, my loading has moved into my own formula based on my performance.
Now I hope you hated this boring garbage as much as I hated digging up the email from the bastard (that owes me money) that sent it to me.
Source: Unknown but I didn’t write it.
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